September 23, 2020
Picture: Hon. Minister Dr. Mahendra Reddy
While Government is doing all it can to expand Fiji’s agricultural base, at the same time it will not want to send out the wrong idea of continuous dependence on the Ministry as this will not be sustainable in the longer run, says Minister for Agriculture, Waterways and Environment, the Hon. Dr Mahendra Reddy.
He made the comments to farmers while launching the off-season rice field day at Madhuvani, Rakiraki on Tuesday (22.9.20).
“I want to assure you that you will get more support from us. But we do not want to create a culture of dependent agriculture.
“We want you to treat agriculture as a business,” he said.
Dr Reddy explained dependent agriculture was similar to handout mentality, where farmers asked the Ministry of Agriculture to assist them on an ongoing basis for operational costs.
Instead, he said, treating agriculture like a business was comparable to running a corner shop where the owner would have built that enterprise from scratch and with personal resources to generate revenue and part of the surplus re-invested thus progressively expanding its business.
“That is what we should do in agriculture, re-invest part of the surplus on an annual basis. We want you to grow as an agriculture entrepreneur,” he said.
He said there was a direct link between putting in more effort in one’s business and generating surplus.
In addition, the Hon. Minister said it was in everyone’s interest including communities, villages and the nation to grow the agriculture sector.
“When agriculture grows the surplus that is created will be distributed to all those engaged in agriculture; whether you’re a farmer, a laborer, input supplier, material supplier, fertiliser supplier, or manure supplier,” he said.
Moreover, Dr Reddy said, if the entire nation focused on agriculture ensured it grew, then other issues concerning livelihood and poverty, for instance, would be managed.